The Great and the Terrible: The World’s Most Glorious and Notorious Rulers and How They Got Their Names

Running Pr. Sept. 2020. 176p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780762496617.
Gr 5-8–This amusing, colorful anthology provides an overview of some of history’s most beloved and most notorious rulers. Covering well-known leaders (Elizabeth I) and lesser-known ones (Ranavalona I of Madagascar), the text presents a wide-ranging introduction to what makes a leader “good” or “bad.” Full-page portraits of each leader are included as well as callout boxes that relay important anecdotes or context. The writing style is detailed enough for students to learn something but moves at a quick pace, which may help persuade reluctant readers to give it a go. Some vocabulary terms may go over the heads of middle grade readers, but the glossary at the back helps provide clarity.
VERDICT A strong addition to middle school libraries and nonfiction collections for youth. Best suited for readers with an interest in history or as an introductory text that can inspire further research.

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